Welcome to the second discussion of the Sense & Sensibility read-along! If this is the first you've heard of the read-along, you can learn more about the schedule in this invitation post.
Today we're going to discuss Volume II. If you came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section or in your own post! (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to the Sense & Sensibility read-along tag.) If you still have to catch up, you're welcome to check in whenever you're ready. :)
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Sense & Sensibility: Volume II
Discussion Format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading
- "She wept for him, more than for herself." [I love Elinor's heart here!]
- "I was young once, but I never was very handsome—worse luck for me. However I got a very good husband, and I don't know what the greatest beauty can do more."
- "Colonel Brandon, who had a general invitation to the house, was with them almost every day; he came to look at Marianne and talk to Elinor."
- "Elinor drew near, but without saying a word; and seating herself on the bed, took her hand, kissed her affectionately several times, and then gave way to a burst of tears, which at first was scarcely less violent than Marianne's." [Such a loving, sisterly bond they share!]
- "Elinor, affected by his relation, and still more by his distress, could not speak. He saw her concern, and coming to her, took her hand, pressed it, and kissed it with grateful respect."
- "She felt the loss of Willoughby's character yet more heavily than she had felt the loss of his heart."
- "It was a matter of great consolation to her, that what brought evil to herself would bring good to her sister."
- "Elinor was much more hurt by Marianne's warmth, than she had been by what produced it; but Colonel Brandon's eyes, as they were fixed on Marianne, declared that he noticed only what was amiable in it, the affectionate heart which could not bear to see a sister slighted in the smallest point."
- "I really believe, he has the most delicate conscience in the world; the most scrupulous in performing every engagement, however minute, and however it may make against his interest or pleasure. He is the most fearful of giving pain, of wounding expectation, and the most incapable of being selfish, of any body I ever saw." [If only you knew how much, Marianne...]
- "Because they were fond of reading, she fancied them satirical: perhaps without exactly knowing what it was to be satirical; but that did not signify."
This volume brings the cast to London, with all its hope and all its sorrows. We discover Willoughby's true character (so awful and odious!), as well as that of many others (I wrote "ugh" in the margin several times for Lucy and once for Robert).
I'm still torn about our heroes. Edward has barely stepped onto the page, and he still seems cowed by outside forces. But I suppose the way he shines the brightest is in his contrast to the darkness of Willoughby's character; if nothing else, he doesn't take his commitments lightly, nor does he act on selfish or impulsive whims.
And as for Colonel Brandon, as much as I don't want to agree with Mr. Dashwood, it's hard not to think that some sort of romance could blossom between him and Elinor. She's the one he interacts with the most of the two sisters; he obviously appreciates her tender heart and her graciousness to him. I'm not really sure what draws him to Marianne beyond her looks and his compassionate nature, although I suppose he's mentioned his preference for passion and liveliness. And I loved the moments at the dinner party with the Ferrarses when he noticed Marianne, appreciating her love for her sister and being concerned about her tears.
Elinor and Marianne are such thoughtful sisters—Elinor weeping with Marianne, and Marianne rejoicing with Elinor (even though she isn't aware yet of why it would be better to weep with her). While Edward is not the kind of man Marianne would fall in love with, she loves him as a brother for her sister's sake, and her affection for him is the sweetest.
I won't say much about Willoughby... I'm just glad he's out of the picture, and I feel sorry for his wife (and certainly Marianne and Eliza). He acted so abominably in so many ways!
Lucy is grating on my nerves. Just...ugh! I do want to sympathize with her in some ways; obviously, she feels insecure in Edward's affections and wants to cling to their engagement. But her utter selfishness and unkindness in the way she treats Elinor (and even Edward, really) is simply awful. She's so focused on herself and securing her own place, rather than showing compassion toward Elinor or love toward Edward. I admire the way Elinor navigates all this with dignity and grace, even if she sometimes gets fed up with Lucy's shenanigans.
As much as Mrs. Jennings can be a bit too pushy and not really understanding, I do like her, and I wish Marianne would try a little harder to see Mrs. Jennings's good intentions. But Fanny...and her husband...and Mrs. Ferrars...and Robert...yikes! These characters are not a good combination. So much selfishness!
I miss the beauty of the countryside and the warmth of Barton Cottage. I think I'm about as ready for Elinor and Marianne to leave London as they are. :)
Feel free to answer one, two, or all three of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post!
1. Which hero holds the most appeal for you so far, Edward or Colonel Brandon? What draws you to his character?
2. Which scene in Volume II tugged on your emotions the most, either positively or negatively? (Was it Willoughby's letter? Colonel Brandon's revelation? Edward's arrival? Or some other moment?)
3. Imagine yourself in Elinor's shoes for this trip to London. Do you think you would have responded the same or differently to Marianne's situation and Lucy's company?
Join us next Friday for our third and final discussion!